October 1, 2019
The definitive guide to print management for coworking spaces
Coworking members typically expect printing as part of their membership. It’s a core amenity, like WiFi or a coffee machine. But offering printing can present both an opportunity and a challenge. With an effective print management strategy, printing can serve as another revenue stream for your business. When managed poorly, you risk it becoming a significant financial drain that adds complexity to your operations.
This article gives you the tools to develop an approach to print management that keeps your members happy, while maximizing revenue potential.
Choosing a print management model
There are lots of ways to work printing into your pricing model. Choosing the right one will depend on various factors, including your membership size and printing volume. Here are three of the top options:
Printing is either included in your pricing for membership plans, or members who want to print are charged a flat fee. This lets you control costs on a macro-level, ensuring revenue from printing fees offsets your total cost.
Easy to manage, since usage tracking isn’t needed.
Members with high print volumes can abuse the system, increasing everyone’s costs.
Members get a limited printing allowance included with membership. Anything over this amount incurs an extra fee.
Most members’ printing needs are met and those who require more can pay extra, as needed.
Managing this system can be complicated, especially if membership plans have different page limits.
Pay per use
Membership doesn’t include printing, so members pay for each page they print.
Members only pay for the printing they need, and you monetize all printing activities.
Tracking and charging usage can be time-consuming for your administrators.
Advanced printing needs
The focus of your printing management strategy should be on meeting the everyday printing needs of your members. Investing in the equipment to support large format and other advanced printing needs is costly. Unless it is part of your core offering (i.e. your space is targeted towards graphic designers), such an investment is probably not necessary for your coworking space.
An alternative to consider would be partnering with a local printing business and referring members with specialty needs. The benefits of this are threefold. First, you add value for existing members, improving their experience. Second, you can offer this partnership as one of your coworking membership perks. Finally, you may be able to negotiate a referral commission, turning the partnership into another revenue stream.
Pinpointing the right print management software
If you pick a print management model that involves any usage tracking, subscribing to a good printer software will be crucial. Without it, printing services can quickly monopolize your team’s time.
Cloud-based print management software helps you automate printer administration. This includes tracking and controlling usage, securing the integrity of printed documents and eliminating paper waste. A couple of the best options on the market today are ezeep and Papercut. Focused on the coworking industry, ezeep is purpose built for the needs of shared workspaces. Plus, they offer a 30-day free trial to let you try it out risk free.
As you review your options, make sure you consider these key features:
Integration with your coworking management software
Unifying your coworking management software and printing management solution have significant benefits for your coworking space. New members will benefit from an easy, all-in-one onboarding experience for both systems and you’ll get the automatic addition of print costs to their invoices. Optix has a beta integration with ezeep, letting you automatically add new members to their print management tool. From there, you’ll be able to link allowances to plans and set the system to charge printing on Optix invoices. As a result, you’ll get a streamlined onboarding process and a unified billing system – all without lifting a finger.
User quotas and access control
As your membership grows, manually monitoring who’s allowed to print and how much becomes an increasing challenge. Good printer software will help you manage access and define/track clear printing quotas for members or groups.
Server-free print management
Eliminate the complexity of traditional print servers. Cloud-based printer management offers members the simplicity of direct IP printing, while letting you centrally manage your printing environment from an easy to navigate dashboard. This includes printers, printer drivers, users, and IP ranges.
Bring your own device (BYOD) printing
The days of desktop printing are over. Give members the flexibility to print from any device on any operating system they want – Android or iOS, laptop, mobile or tablet – without downloading any printer software.
No one likes a printer hog. Create automated rules to streamline printing queues and encourage responsible printing behavior. This includes routing high-volume jobs to dedicated printers, setting default grayscale printing and reminder pop-ups to print double-sided.
Members are busy people. Help them stay efficient by giving them access to printers on the go. With remote printing, they can send a print request from anywhere via the internet and pick it up when they arrive at your space. No network connection needed.
Print usage and environmental impact reporting
There’s a reason people say data is king. By helping people understand their printing behavior, everyone wins. You make smarter decisions to optimize print services, and members see their environmental impact, encouraging more sustainable printing.
By investing the time to develop a print management strategy for your coworking space, you can tap into an additional revenue stream and ensure you aren’t paying for your member’s printing costs out of pocket. Print management software such as ezeep are well suited to manage the complexities of printing, and by integrating with your coworking software can streamline your team’s workload. Put simply, effective print management represents a true win-win for you and your members. If you’re not already doing it, the time to start is now!